Mars Sample Return mission: NASA to bring Mars rock samples back to Earth

In a first of its kind feat, NASA has got a go ahead to bring back the sample of Mars rock to Earth so that scientists could study it. This big step towards space exploration will be taken under the Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission. NASA will carry out this historic feat in an international partnership with ESA (European Space Agency).

However, this process will not be short and will take a long period of time and will be done in parts. During the first part, the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover, which was launched in July and is equipped with a coring drill and sample tubes, will store the rocks in tubes after the extraction.

ESA’s “fetch” rover will the pick up few of the rocks collected. In the next process, the rock samples will be delivered by the ESA rover to NASA-provided MARS Ascent vehicle, which will launch into the orbit of Mars. Then, these samples will be taken from the MARS Ascent vehicle by an ESA-provided Earth Return Orbiter, which will bring them back to Earth in the 2030s.